Raiders rookie Ford comes up big in OT win over Chiefs

Most fans had probably never heard of Jacoby Ford. It would be hard to fault them.

Entering last week's game with Kansas City, the rookie wide receiver had just four catches on his NFL resume. But after Sunday, he had played a key role in the Raiders' overtime win that kept them in the hunt for the AFC West division title.

The Raiders had been held scoreless for the first 30 minutes, but like Ford, they came alive in the second half. Ford returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. All six of his catches came after intermission, and he had a key 29-yard catch with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation to get Sebastian Janikowski in position for the game-tying field goal.

His biggest play of the day, though, came on the Raiders first offensive play in the overtime period.

Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers has earned a reputation as one of the league's best shutdown corners. He was matched up against Ford, who had wrestled the ball away from him just minutes earlier to help prolong the game. This time, it was the speed of Ford, and a well-placed throw from quarterback Jason Campbell that set up the winning kick.

On the play, the Raiders were in max protection. Six offensive linemen blocked the Chiefs' four-man rush, giving Campbell time to throw and Ford time to get down field. Flowers' safety help was forced to cover tight end Brandon Myers, leaving Flowers one-on-one with Ford. The coverage was good, but Campbell's pass was on the money. The result was a 47-yard completion.

Two plays later, Janikowski nailed the winner, and the Raiders were 5-4 after a 23-20 win, just a half game behind the first-place Chiefs.

"I love him," defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said of Ford. "I told him I would give him anything he wanted right now. Two big catches and that kickoff return. He came up huge -- huge."

Ford was a 60-meter champion at Clemson, and his display of speed at the NFL Scouting Combine convinced the Raiders to draft him in the fourth round. After Sunday's six-catch, 148-yard performance, Oakland has to be happy with its choice.

"It was exciting to see him burst into another speed and go get that ball," Campbell said of Ford's overtime catch.

Said Ford: "You know, the ball just kept coming to me, and I was out there just making plays."

Making plays that may have saved the Raiders' playoff hopes.

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